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klaher (Dublin)

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And So I Watch You From Afar
And So I Watch You From Afar

4.0 out of 5 stars The sound of destruction!, 17 Nov. 2010
I'm a bit late picking up on this band from the North's debut album, released last year. Primarily an instrumental band, the title of the opening track, Set Guitars To Kill should tell you everything you need to know about it. It stomps all over the place with sledgehammer guitars pounding through the song. Absolutely awesome.

The album doesn't let up from there, offering visceral thrills not heard on an Irish album for some time. A Little Bit of Solidarity Goes A Long Way barrels along for all of 3 minutes.

They remind me of Mogwai with the metal turned up and a little Sonic Youth, Queens of the Stone Age and a bit of the doomier side of The Cure added in for good measure. A good example of this is Clench Fists, Grit Teeth... GO!, six minutes of pure metal carnage. They do take the occasional breather, allowing some tracks such as I Capture Castles to build up gradually, and even take something of mid-song siesta in Start A Band, which itself is almost like 3 songs in one.

Later on the album Tip of the Hat, Punch in the Face reminds me of forgotten Irish band Coldspoon Conspiracy. There's a lovely Sonic Youth style mid-song break with lots of ringing trebly guitars in Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate, before some "na na na" vocals, one of the few vocals on the album. Final track Eat the City, Eat it Whole perfects the art of the slow build.

It's the kind of music that influences behaviour, you'll definitely want to be hell-raising after getting THIS into your ears. Or breaking something. So... stop what you're doing and buy this album immediately.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2011 4:04 PM BST

Offered by cdbear1
Price: £16.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Great songwriting, 4 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Home (Audio CD)
Peter Broderick has released a lot of music for a young fellow. This 2008 album was his first in the `singer-songwriter' vein. On the face of it, it's fairly unremarkable acoustic music. Yet it has some undefined quality which makes it stand out from the rest of the acoustic rabble.

Broderick is classically trained and plays all the instruments and provides all vocals here. Second track, And It's Alright is typical of most of the songs here. It gently unfurls, with a deceptively simple melody over a gorgeous picked guitar. With The Notes In My Ears, Below It and Not At Home are also examples of this style, and equally good.

He also does a couple of instrumentals which use similar elements. The best of these is probably the six minute Sickness, Bury which starts with sparse, picked guitar before being joined by banjo and keyboard. The tune creates an unsettling atmosphere, sounding like it could soundtrack a journey over a wide expanse. Shards of electric guitar and percussion are thrown in, and even when the brief, wordless vocals come in, it maintains the tense atmosphere.

Later in the album, Maps is a bit of a departure in that it starts out as a plainly sung acoustic track before adding electric guitar midway through and building up to a choral climax, all celestial vocals and crashing cymbals.

It's a charming bunch of songs, which I think holds the key to why this album stands out - songwriting.

The Wants
The Wants
Price: £9.90

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Scottish album, 2 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Wants (Audio CD)
This Scottish band have just released their 2nd album. On first listen it sounds very "now", with a lot going on in the songs, sounding like a crazy mish-mash of Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear, with a bit of Super Furry Animals thrown in. By this I mean the way they take seemingly disparate elements and blend them to make an interesting and engaging song.

The opening track A Glamour is a perfect example of this. It opens with the sound a blunt knife scraping on a piece of wood, then some African-sounding percussion leads into a stomping beat with high-pitched whoops before the singer comes in, sounding foreboding as his deep voice croons "I was foraging..." O continues in a similar vein, with an almost electro beat seeming almost incongruous with a singer who sounds like Nick Cave's Scottish cousin.

After the playful sounding Everybody Know It's True, the pace slows down for the epic The None Of One. It starts off with gentle folky guitar and banjo for 3 minutes or so before exploding into life with propulsive beats, synths and vibes. The most straightforward and shortest track is Come Away In The Dark which is a very pretty song, all longing vocals, picked guitars and piano.

One of the strongest tracks comes later in the album. After starting with what can only be described as `squelching noises', Into the Corn is a brooding track slightly reminiscent of the National, with the regretful refrain "into the corn I fled... everyone I knew there was dead" building towards a climax at the end.

The album finishes with Goodnight Arrow, which starts out serenely, evolving into a floating before ending on a nice crescendo. There's a lot going on these songs, and at times it's more a case of standing back and admiring them, rather than loving them, but nevertheless I think people are going to be hearing a lot of these guys.

Olympia  [Standard Edition]
Olympia [Standard Edition]
Price: £7.76

7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good effort, but still 1985?, 27 Oct. 2010
This autumn is becoming the return of the elder statesman! For Bryan Ferry, it seems it's still 1985 as this album could have been recorded then. You Can Dance uses a sample from Roxy Music's True to Life to reasonably good effect in an 80s, cocktail kind of way.

Unfortunately most of the album continues in the very same way, with little deviation. Vaguely danceable beat? Check. Twanging guitar? Check. Dancing girls cooing. Check.

There are a couple of covers here. Tim Buckley's Song to the Siren is completely sunk here by an MOR arrangement and way too many musicians. Traffic's No Face, No Name, No Number on the other hand survives the stifling arrangements and showcases Ferry's world-weary croon to good effect.

Indeed the more stripped down arrangements (relatively speaking) are the best tracks, here, with Reason Or Rhyme and Tender Is The Night allowing Ferry's vocals to breathe, as opposed to burying them in studio trickery.

It's a pity Ferry wouldn't move a little more in this direction. His 1999 album As Time Goes By featured orchestral arrangements, and although it was all covers, the subsequent tour saw him recasting his own material in this vein to great effect. Otherwise I'm not sure how long he can keep going as he is.

Price: £14.45

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great live performance, 26 Oct. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vallisa (Audio CD)
This is actually a recording of concert Chris Hooson from Dakota Suite played with cellist David Darling and pianist Quentin Sirjacq in a chapel in Bari.

It's essentially classical music and sees Chris Hooson sharpening his craft, with some of his strongest attempts at this present on this album. Some of the tracks come from his last album The End of Trying, and are enhanced by Darling and Sirjacq's contributions. The music in the main is quite minimalist. Very Early One Morning is a gorgeous piece for piano and cello and is a good indication of the rest of the album. North Green Down has a lovely piano melody, full of regret, while later on A Worn Out Life sees Chris playing a sparse, jazz-tinged guitar with some great piano touches and plucked cello.

Both collaborators get an opportunity to play one of their own tracks. Quentin Sirjacq plays a fine piano on Des Etres Disparus, which sounds like it could be a soundtrack from a French movie. David Darling goes one better on Remember, not only deftly plucking his cello but also singing a wordless vocal, sounding all worn and weary, like wise old sage-like figure. After listening to the rest of the album, the presence of a vocal is arresting and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

It's a tranquil and relaxing concert recording, worth checking out if you enjoy classical music.

Broken Record
Broken Record
Price: £10.90

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No edge, but nice collection of songs, 25 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Broken Record (Audio CD)
For those who remember Lloyd Cole and the Commotions in the 80s, the 2010 model is a rather different beast. His posture and attitude from his heyday has been replaced with a relaxed gentle self-deprecation. And he's discovered folky country rock.

It suits him reasonably well, opening track Like A Broken Record is a gentle charmer, all steel guitar and self-deprecation ("I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, not that I had that much dignity left anyway"). The uptempo tracks aren't bad either. Writers Retreat bops along nicely on a bed of harmonicas, slightly reminiscent of Whiskeytown, then the pace is taken down a notch or two on The Flipside, which sounds like any of the slower tracks form Lloyd's 90s solo albums.

Why In The World could be something off Springsteen's Tunnel of Love with its regretful tone ("maybe I'm not built for these times") over a soaring keyboard-led melody. Westchester County Jail repeats the trick of Writers Retreat with added steel guitar. A bit of pace in the songs suits him quite well, That's Alright has a nice REM-style midtempo groove to it while Oh Genevieve (classic Lloyd Cole title) is another song to add to his long list of odes to various girls.
Later, Rhinestones is a sprightly, banjo-led stomp, before closing track Double Happiness keeps up the pace, stretching out a little musically on the guitar before the end. All in all, Lloyd's "edge" is definitalmost completely absent here, but it's a pleasant enough collection of tunes, very enjoyable for fans of Lloyd Cole.

Band Of Joy
Band Of Joy
Price: £13.93

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little hit and miss, 24 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Band Of Joy (Audio CD)
You have to hand it to Robert Plant. Not for him the easy option of taking the huge cash on offer for a Led Zeppelin reunion. Instead the former rock god has had an interesting career, dabbling in bluegrass and folk.

This album mainly consists of covers, from Los Lobos to Low via Richard Thompson and Townes Van Zandt. Angel Dance, the opener is a kind of sprightly folk, while House of Cards is more a lumbering, slow-burning rock track. Plant covers not just one Low track but 2! Silver Rider is the more successful of the two, as Plant allows the band to stretch out with some superb guitar. Monkey on the other hand struggles to match the visceral intensity of the original. Nevertheless, they are great songs, and Plant does a decent job on them.

On the other end of the spectrum, You Can't Buy My Love is a kind of early 60s stomp, and we get some bluegrass in Cindy, I'll Marry You Someday and Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down. Townes Van Zandt's Harm Swift Way is transformed into country rock, working quite well.

Overall the album is a little hit and miss, but at least he's pushing himself creatively.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2011 11:38 AM GMT

Special Moves
Special Moves
Price: £10.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful live album, 18 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Special Moves (Audio CD)
This is Mogwai's first live album, a recording of a gig in Brooklyn last year. It's a very lavish package, with a live album, the Burning live DVD, and also downloads of additional material.

There's a spread of material here from all their albums. The quality of the recording is very good, you can hear every scrape of guitar string even amidst the inevitable onslaught that comes in many of their songs. If anything, some of the tracks are even more embellished, I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead in particular benefits from additional keyboards. Later, Hunted By A Freak emerges as one of the strongest of the bunch. The roar of appreciation when it's off kilter guitar picking starts up is quite something to behold for an instrumental!

The track Cody contains some slightly thin vocals from Stuart Braithwaite and is a little jarring. The other tracks draw from all Mogwai's repertoire of talent, the slow-builders (Friend of the Night, I Love You, I'm Going To Blow Up Your School), the elephant-on-the-loose (Glasgow Megasnake), and the epic mindblower (Like Herod). For this last one especially it's well worth watching the `Burning' DVD (tastefully shot by Vincent Moon). When the sudden guitar assault comes mid-song the camera is on the crowd. You can feel their exhilaration as they simply scream and roar with a combination of fear and elation, which sums up Mogwai's live experience.


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome return to tunes!, 17 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Sleepwalkers (Audio CD)
After the difficult Manafon album I approached David Sylvian's collection of collaborations with some trepidation. The cover art did little to entice me in either. However with relief I noticed the presence of some strong melodies here. Sure he his moments of pretension are numerous. There are difficult Manafon-esque pieces (the title track, Five Lines), spoken word pieces like Thermal and Angels (featuring some swearing which sounds awful), and jarring instrumentals like Trauma which sounds like a leftover from Blemish.

Leaving those aside, there are a couple of great songs here which restore my faith in Sylvian and his muse. Ballad of a Deadman is a gorgeous bluesy duet with Joan Wasser, with a sort of marching band tempo and a nice string part in the middle.

Ryuichi Sakamoto is someone who Sylvian has a history with, and on World Citizen - I Won't Be Disappointed they marry a somewhat simplistic lyric concerning the environment with a soothing electronica piece. It's a roaring success. There are a couple of tracks he made with Nine Horses here, the best of them being the relatively sparse The Day The Earth Stole Heaven. Based on an acoustic guitar and some `la la la la' backing vocals, and a great lead vocal, it was the prettiest track on Snow Borne Sorrow, and it's worth catching here.

After the brief piano ballad Playground Martyrs, a sweetly played acoustic guitar kicks off the next track Exit / Delete, a collaboration with Takagi Masakatsu featuring a strange tale of Caroline (a recurring character in Sylvian's more recent work) and deleted files, but it's a gorgeous summery piece of music.

Some of the more experimental pieces work well also, Transit is a collaboration with Christian Fennesz which takes glitch electronica textures, low feedback, distortion and blends them into a very 21st century European ballad.

This collection comes as a welcome relief after Manafon. Although quite a lot of it doesn't really work, it's nice to hear many of the more playful tracks gathered together in one place, and in even the less successful ones offer plenty to return to.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2011 2:43 PM BST

Le Noise
Le Noise
Price: £8.42

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neil's strongest album for some time, 16 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Le Noise (Audio CD)
The best Neil Young albums tend to be the `rocking' albums with Crazy Horse (Zuma, Rust Never Sleeps) or the acoustic, stripped down albums (After the Gold Rush, On the Beach etc). His new album is neither of these but sits apart as a curious beast. The album consists entirely of Neil Young and his guitar, accompanied by producer Daniel Lanois' effects. So no bass, no drums. And Neil's guitar is mostly plugged in.

On the electric songs his guitar sounds immense, though without any other instruments the effect is a little disorientating, until you get used to it. In actual fact a lot of the songs sound like they would transfer well on to an acoustic guitar. Although it's the strongest collection of songs for some time from Neil Young, he doesn't frontload the album, and the opening 2 tracks are 2 of the weaker ones.

Walk With Me is a reasonable enough track which showcases Young's guitar sound and Lanois' production, which relies on the use of loops, bleeps etc, which occupy the last minute or so of the song. Sign of Love references Drive Back, which is to my ears, the least successful track on Zuma. Similarly on this album, this track is relatively pedestrian.

Someone's Gonna Rescue You takes a little inspiration from the midsection of The Doors' The End. While it sounds unremarkable at first, its overall `spaciness' creeps up on you, though Neil Young's high-pitched vocal doesn't quite suit the song. Still it's an improvement on the opening tracks. There's a hint of Old Man in the melody, though it's well buried by guitar and studio trickery.

The 2 acoustic tracks Love and War and Peaceful Valley Boulevard are as strong a pair of song as anything in his back catalogue. Love and War sounds like a classic Neil Young acoustic track. Without making it sound like this album is playing spot the old song reference, the melody is a little reminiscent of Hey Hey, My My. There's a Spanish feel to the middle of this track, along the lines of Freedom's Eldorado with some wonderful guitar playing.

After the return of the loops and heavy guitar that is Angry World, Hitchhiker is probably the strongest of the electric tracks, with a powerful vocal over a vintage Neil Young guitar progression. The aforementioned acoustic Peaceful Valley Boulevard is excellent, with echoes of Pocahontas running through it. The similarities are subtle, none of these tracks sound overly like anything else in his catalogue. Only with repeated listens do some of the melodies start to evoke older tracks. The guitar playing in this track gives it a particularly lonely feel, aided by excellent production.

Rumblin' is the final track, and has another fine melody as Neil Young exhorts himself, singing "when will I learn how to listen". Though the album's initially a little difficult, it sounds better and better the more you listen to it, and there's no real precedent for it in Neil Young's vast back catalogue. It's great that he's pushing himself to do something new.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 17, 2010 6:18 PM BST

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